Puppy butcher at large!
By: N Gilbert
SOUTH BEND – High-force trauma, broken vertebrae, decapitation -- Police are looking for a man now charged with brutally beating three puppies to death.
Joseph Perry, 38, is being charged with two counts of mutilating an animal. A warrant has been issued for his arrest but police have not been able to find him yet.
The two charges against Perry are Class D Felonies -- a conviction could carry a penalty of six months to three years in prison.
WSBT was the first to tell you about this case last month.
Police say neighbors of the South Ironwood home complained to South Bend Code Enforcement because of barking and a strong smell of dog feces. When Animal Care and Control arrived to check it out in August, they found three dead puppies – their bodies were tossed between two garages.
"This is probably one of the worst cases I've seen," Dr. Chris Payton told WSBT last month.
Payton works at Western Veterinary Clinic in South Bend and does a lot of work for South Bend Animal Care and Control. For this case, ACC asked him to examine the puppies. Dr. Payton told WSBT last month, he found at least one puppy had a broken hip bone. He found broken ribs and broken mandibles. One of the puppies was decapitated.
"There is not much of a head left and it is definitely not attached and there are actually vertebrate that are missing from this puppy," said Payton as he looked closely at the X-rays of one of the puppies.
"This is definitely trauma that has happened,” said Payton. “You are talking about decapitation and fracture of the cervical vertebrate. That doesn't just happen. You don't see that happening in people where they just fall down and break their vertebrate and decapitate themselves. So some pretty high-force trauma had to have occurred in this case.”
Court documents say, "based on his observations, Dr. Payton determined that blunt force trauma caused the fractures to the head and necks of the dogs." Dr. Payton indicated (and subsequently reiterated to this affiant) that the injuries were consistent with the animals being beaten by a baseball bat, club or similar object."
WSBT also spoke with Joseph Perry last month. He said he would never hurt an animal.
"I sold one puppy and that person called me while I was in Chicago and that puppy was dying from Parvo Virus. Those puppies died from Parvo virus," said Perry.
According to court documents, Perry claimed "Scott McConnell" was caring for his dogs. Police checked records and directories but were not able to find any "indication that a 'Scott McConnell' (including variant spellings) had ever lived in this community."
Animal Control took other animals off the property in August – three more puppies, three adult dogs and a cat were taken from the home and are being help at Animal Care and Control while the case is under investigation.
ACC officers say those animals were in fairly good shape and none of them have any symptoms of Parvo.